By email@example.com (Ben Boynton)
Junior middle blocker Leah Lawrence is not a loud person. She’s soft-spoken and calm in her speech and demeanor.
On the volleyball court, Lawrence will often use a quick and soft attack to score points offensively. Defensively, however, Lawrence can become a different person.
“Blocking is defensive, but if you have an aggressive mindset towards defense you’re going to be really good at defense,” Lawrence said. “When I go to block I always have that aggressive mindset. I think, ‘Can I block the ball before they even hit it, how far can I reach over the net, how fast can I block the ball down to the ground?’”
Lawrence leads Alabama in blocks with 99 on the year, good for an average of 0.92 blocks per set. She is coming off a big eight-block performance against Arkansas, which is tied for her best mark of the year.
Lawrence currently has a hitting percentage of 271, but she believes she can do better. Improving offensively is a big focus for her right now.
“I’m looking to put up more consistent hitting numbers,” Lawrence said. “I’d like my serving to be a little more consistent. It was good earlier this season, and then the last couple of weeks I’ve struggled with that part so I’m going to work to make that better.”
Coach Ed Allen is pleased with the maturation of his player and agrees that she can continue to develop.
“She’s a quiet, reserved kid who is maturing into a young woman and gaining confidence as a player and a person,” Allen said. “We would like to see her hitting for a higher percentage, which she is clearly capable of, and [she’s] continuing to improve as a blocker and defender, which I think is her strongest attribute.”
Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, Lawrence visited several colleges early on in her high school career. The 2013 Alabama Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year, Lawrence looked at Auburn, Mississippi State and Kentucky in addition to the Crimson Tide. Allen was the first to offer a scholarship, and as a high school sophomore, Lawrence committed to play in Tuscaloosa.
“The coaching staff, the team, the campus, it was all incredible,” Lawrence said. “I definitely wanted an opportunity to play for Coach Allen. I thought he could develop me as a player well.”
It wasn’t just volleyball that drew Lawrence to Alabama. Unsure of what exactly she wanted to major in, but confident that it was in business, Lawrence was interested in the Culverhouse College of Commerce. Now an accounting major who plans to earn a master’s in tax accounting, Lawrence is happy she made a school choice that provided her with a good education.
“We have one of the top accounting schools in the country, and I feel like that was the right choice for me too,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence is a three-year starter with plenty of experience under her belt, but she’s still working on taking the confidence she gains and the experience she has to be a better leader.
“I think I’ve gotten more comfortable in my own skin,” Lawrence said. “My confidence on the court, off the court, academically and professionally has grown a lot…Coach says when you come in as a freshman he expects mistakes, but the farther you go he expects less of those mistakes, and he expects you to help lead the team. I can do more of that this year, and I will be doing more of that next year.”
Allen likes her work ethic and thinks that she can help lead by example with her attitude. For her part, Lawrence is looking to finish the current season strong.
“I’d like to consistently get a couple more blocks at least a match,” Lawrence said. “I would like to get two blocks a set for the rest of the season. I think I can do that.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports